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On the corner playing blues,
plugged into the afternoon.

She thumb-plucks bass, and sings about Chicago.
His fingers strum dark rhythms on a beat-up guitar.

Taking their earnings to Tad’s Steaks, drinking cheap red wine,
and burying their forks and hunger in sirloins.

One day he climbs onto the amp, awkward but feeling good.
A harp player’s jamming with them today, swaying and wailing away.

The crowd gathers, their minds, ears and eyes full of the blues.

Up on the amp he dances a sluggish red wine shuffle.
He’s forgotten what fills the busker’s belly.

He’s singing an orchard song: a six-foot, hundred-seventy-pound
heart, cooked well done, and not served until the apple is



Jonathan Hayes lives in San Francisco, California. He has taught poetry at 826 Valencia–a writing center for children–located in the Mission District of the City.

© 2007, Jonathan Hayes

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